Strength Training: How to never get Injured
Weight training is dangerous! You could hurt your back, knees, and/or shoulders performing a seemingly infinite number of exercises and have to undergo physical therapy or a surgery to fix them. You could get calluses, and those calluses could tear, and they could hurt like a bitch when you open doors, shower, and shit. You could drop a weight on your foot, and the big toenail could slowly fall off over the next six months. You could pinch your fingers putting plates away. You could pull a hammy! You could get light-headed and feint and hit your head on a weight stack. You could get MRSA from rolling around on dirty floor mats. There are so many bad things that could happen in the weight room, I wonder why anyone lifts weights at all.
If you don’t lift weights, you could hurt your back, knees, and/or shoulders helping a friend move into their new apartment, or they could all just start hurting for no reason one day. Your wrists could start hurting one day for no reason at all. You could chase your nephew at his 7th birthday party and pull a hammy. You could slip in the shower and break a hip. You could catch MRSA from a routine hospital visit. There are so many bad things that could happen in life, I wonder why anyone chooses to live at all.
Reasons to Strength Train
Oh, here’s some reasons! Stronger people live better quality lives, are generally happier, have more frequent and higher quality sex, are more efficient workers, and live longer. To summarize, lifting weights provides the stimulus to propel you towards your best life. This is not only good for you, but also good for everyone’s lives who you touch.
Statistics (for those of you who lik-a da math)
The odds of getting injured during resistance training is about 1 injury per 1000 hours (1). A funny side note here is that most injuries (~66% of reported) occurred from dropping weights on oneself (2). So if you traditionally strength train 4 hours each week, statistically, you might get injured once within 5 years. For CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting, the number jumps up to 2-4 injuries per 1000 hours (3). In comparison, long distance runners can expect 2.5-12 injuries per 1000 hours (4). Therefore runners may get injured once every 5 months to 2.5 years, statistically. These numbers aren’t high, especially considering the physiological, psychological, and frequent spiritual benefits one receives from training intelligently and regularly.
Guidelines for Success
You can hedge your risk by following three simple guidelines:
1) Find a GREAT teacher
Credentials and education aren’t everything, but these pieces of paper DO show that the trainer has invested money, thought, and time into their profession. Experience is a key factor, too. Make sure they follow what they preach. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, you must trust them.
2) Check your EGO
EVERY injury that I have ever earned in the gym was because I put more weight on the bar when I shouldn’t have, OR tried to perform a movement at a level that I wasn’t yet trained to do, OR I was showing off.
3) Balance YOUR Life
Too many days a week training, or too few can cause problems. Eating too much, or too little can cause problems. Same with sleep. Same with sex. Chocolate. Trader Joes unexpected cheddar. Cats. They are all best experienced in moderation. Know thy self! Find what works and go. Don’t be afraid to reassess what “works” every few months because nothing works forever.
Good luck! The world needs YOU at your best. I truly believe this, and I wish you well. Send it!!!
1) Keogh & Winwood (2017). The Epidemiology of Injuries Across the Weight-Training Sports. American Journal of Sports Medicine (3), 479-501.
2) Kerr, Collins, & Comstock (2010). Epidemiology of weight training-related injuries presenting to United States emergency departments, 1990 to 2007. American Journal of Sports Medicine (4), 765-771.
3) Aasa, Svartholm, Andersson, & Berglund (2016). Injuries among weightlifters and powerlifters: A systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 211-220.
4) Mechelen (1992). Running injuries: A review of the epidemiological literature. American Journal of Sports Medicine (5), 320-335.
Cover Photo by Harlie Raethel on Unsplash